To Have & To Hold: Family Weddings Remembered, through November 17, 2019
Among the domestic activities and social gatherings held at the home of the Rotch, Jones and Duff families were numerous family weddings. RJD “lifts the veil” in this exhibition, giving visitors a glimpse into these eventful days. To Have and to Hold: Family Weddings Remembered features gowns and memorabilia from the collection and private loans. Many of the items were worn by brides married in the house, while others belong to the descendants of RJD families.
Records of weddings from this era (early 1800s to mid 19th Century) come in the form of photography, simple certificates, and elegantly illuminated wedding guest books. Some of these items can be seen in the exhibition. Also on view will be the costume of both bride and groom. For example, the gown worn by Sarah Rotch (daughter of William Jr.) at her marriage to James Arnold in 1807, as well as his wedding vest, is the oldest on display. Sewing machines were not invented until the 1840s, so Sarah Rotch’s gown is hand-stitched. Also on display is the gown worn by Emily Morgan, who married William J. Rotch, (grandson of William Rotch Jr.) in 1842.
Sarah Jones Forbes began the tradition of Jones descendants marrying in the Parlors. She married John Malcom Forbes in 1873. Her daughter Margaret married Arnold Klebs in 1898 and her granddaughter Sarah Klebs married George Stewart in 1925. Both of their dresses are on display in this exhibition.
Beatrice Marceau Duff was the last resident at 396 County Street before it became a museum (1936 – 1981). The Duff daughters, Beatrice and Betty, married in the house in 1941 and 1949 respectively. Both tossed their bouquets from the curved staircase in the main hall. Clippings and snapshots from scrapbooks recall their mother, Beatrice’s wedding to Mark Duff in 1915. She bequeathed her gown to the RJD, and it is also on display in the exhibition. The dress Hilda Greenleaf wore when she married William Rotch Bullard in 1921 rounds out the representation of the three families who lived in and celebrated marriages at the RJD.
~Blair Walker, Curator and Manager of Collections